Ahead of Tuesday’s opening games of the American Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament in Clearwater, the conference released its All-Conference first and second team selections for the season.
Six total Bulls earned All-Conference honors with junior third baseman David Villar landing on the first team for his first set of postseason accolades. Villar is having a career season starting all 51 games at third base, slashing an impressive .380/.474/.684 and leading the conference with 21 doubles. The junior slugged 12 home runs with 52 RBI and scored 47 runs and has led the Bulls in hitting all season. Villar’s 33 extra-base hits are tied for third most in a single season for USF.
Five Bulls were also named to the all-conference second team. Pitchers Peter Strzelecki and Andrew Perez, outfielder Duke Stunkel, Jr., shortstop Coco Montes and first baseman Joe Genord. Seniors Strzelecki and Stunkel Jr. delivered after being named to the preseason all-conference list.
Stunkel, Jr. slashed .347/.398/.463 with 16 doubles, 23 RBI and 32 runs scored. He also flashed with the leather fielding a .992 fielding percentage with only one error all season.
Strzelecki, the veteran righty and Saturday starter posted an 8-3 record (5-2 in conference play) and finished fifth in the conference with 90 strikeouts across 80.2 innings and posted a 3.79 ERA. The senior pitched a pair of complete games including a five-hit gem vs. No. 7 ECU in Greenville. That was also the game that brought us this.
“YOUR NICEST RESTAURANT IS COOK OUT” pic.twitter.com/WAZVEiK6D2— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) April 15, 2018
Junior Coco Montes earns his first all-conference selection slashing a career best .323/.394/.468 with 18 doubles and 34 RBI. He also scored 38 runs and slugged three home runs including 20 multi-hit games.
Joe Genord tied for the team lead with Villar smashing 12 home runs, all while playing 11 less games. The junior slashed .315/.401/.631 with 11 doubles, 44 RBI and scored 30 runs. He became the first player in program history to hit a homer in four straight games. He also has a mean batflip. (You thought we were done talking about that game in Greenville.)
Andrew Perez was called upon early and often in 2018 for the Bulls and has established himself as one of the best arms out of the pen in the conference. Adding to his successful 2017 campaign the junior pitched 34 innings in 21 appearances with 11 saves, 43(!!) strikeouts and a 2.65 ERA. He also recorded a 5-2 record out of the bullpen.
The Bulls enter the conference tournament as the two-seed with a 14-9-1 conference record and will face the seven-seed Wichita St. on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the double elimination tournament.